Barring any surprises, Pierre Karl Péladeau, a successful businessman in the Québéc media space who entered politics for the first time last year, will become the new leader of the separatist Parti Québécois (PQ).
Though he was already the overwhelming favorite in the leadership election, Péladeau’s leadership hopes were almost reinforced by Bernard Drainville’s decision earlier this week to drop out of the contest, endorsing Péladeau. Drainville was the architect of the last PQ government’s disastrous attempt to enact the charte de la laïcité (Charter of Rights and Values) that would have banned government employees from wearing religious symbols and that critics argued would unfairly restrict the freedom of Muslim and other non-Christian recent migrants to Québec.
Drainville left the race after falling not only far behind Péladeau, but also behind Alexandre Cloutier, a member of Québec’s National Assembly since 2007, and a former minister for Québec’s north and Canadian intergovernmental affairs.
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The vote follows the swift defeat of Pauline Marois’s minority government in April 2014. After Marois lost her own constituency in the election, she announced her resignation as party leader. When former Bloc québécois leader Gilles Duceppe declined to run for the leadership, Péladeau quickly emerged as the leading candidate. PQ members will cast a first ballot between May 13 and 15, with a second ballot to follow if no candidate wins a majority.
In the latest Leger poll from early April, Péladeau had the support of 59% of PQ voters, compared to just 13% for Cloutier and 9% for Drainville.
If he succeeds next month, Péladeau will lead a party as much in the wilderness as it’s been since its creation in 1968. Continue reading Péladeau continues march to PQ leadership